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How important is it to have a "gender" therapist?

Started by Lucca, July 15, 2018, 11:59:32 AM

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I went to see a new therapist a few days ago, recommended to me by my psychiatrist. I asked for someone who was specifically good with transgender issues, but it turns out the therapist she set me up with has never actually had a transgender patient before. I really like her though, and she was very supportive and I'm planning to go back. In the early stages of transition or gender exploration, how important is it to see an actual "gender therapist" vs. just a supportive "normal" therapist who you're comfortable talking to? I always see the advice to go see a "gender therapist" and I don't really know how that's different from a regular therapist.

Tessa James

I think it is very important and more helpful for our therapist to have both experience and a track record of success.  It would be nice if we had access to therapist score cards that are peer reviewed ;)

I sought out therapy in my 20s and the therapists who self identified as gay men simply dismissed my bisexuality and non binary trans ideas and behaviors and proclaimed i was simply a gay male bottom in denial.  Other therapists found me interesting but added little help as they sought to help treat my depression.  When I finally found my way to a real gender therapist with significant experience I experienced break through after break through.  I finally arrived at the beginning of self acceptance and real turning points that changed my life.

Like any human, therapists have strengths and weaknesses but I would hope and expect you will feel both challenged and make progress toward self acceptance and achievable goals.  Keep on with what works well for you.
Open, out and evolving queer trans person forever with HRT support since March 13, 2013

Janes Groove

I think a real gender therapist is a great idea. 

It's kind of like this:  YOU know why you're there.  And THEY know why you're there.  Everybody's on the same page from the git go.  So there is less of a chance of dancing around and wasting time dealing with WHY you are there.  It sets up a great dynamic to more freely explore your gender issues.


It is required where I live to see an Endo. :(

...And I have had horrible experiences with some. One asked me how many times my wife cheated on me over and over. Another informed me that they currently work with my former SO and wanted me to pay her $5000 for the letter!

This is probably why trans suicide rates are so high. If you don't like your therapist find a new one. I am to the point of finding a straight, cis therapist. I don't believe he or she could do a worse job.


Competence first, specialty second

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~VA (pronounced Vee- Aye, the abbreviation for the State of Virginia where I live)


The only therapist I saw when I was 21 was highly recommended by the local trans community in Omaha.   He tried screwing me out of the letters for surgery after seeing him 2 years off & on.

That was the last time i ever spoke to a therapist in a client relationship.  Ever.

I got the surgerie(s) I needed anyways, without all the hoops.
That's how I roll.


Well, the first two therapists I ever saw refused to treat me properly because they thought I was being a big baby for being so stressed out about the influence of fundamentalist religion in my life, so I'm plenty familiar with terrible therapists. If I've find one who's not abhorrent, I'd like to just stick with them.

I'm not sure what a "gender therapist" is actually going to do that a standard therapist who I like can't give me, the therapist I went to who actually was experienced with transgender patients just kept making stereotypical stock suggestions instead of paying attention to my individual needs, and was way more pushy with transition as the only solution than I was comfortable with at the time. If I'm going to transition, it's going to be because I choose to do it on my own, not because someone who's spent all of two hours studying me ordered me too.


There isnt any gender therapists in the country where I live. Unknown.


It is absolutely vital.  A Good Gender Therapist will be equal parts Advocate/Cheer Leader and Devil's Advocate for you.

It is not wise to go through something as significant as this alone.



I have a therapist that I really enjoy visiting with.  She absolutely helped me to solidify my feelings and was a true asset in getting things started.  She went through my plan and gave it a look through an objective third party eye.  She helped me tune it and has provided invaluable support as I have made it happen.  I have often realized that everything I have accomplished so far could have been worked through without a therapist.  She mainly helped me to settle as each new phase began.  My current is the third therapist I have worked with over the past 25 years in regards to my GID.  They make great sounding boards, if nothing else.

I have several friends who have worked through their transitions with an absolute minimum input from any therapist and they are fine.  This leads me to believe that the necessity is really dependent on the transitioning person.  They can also make a few steps a little easier.
Katherine Lynn M.

You've got a light that always guides you.
You speak of hope and change as something good.
Live your truth and know you're not alone.

The restart - 20-Oct-2015
Legal name and gender change affirmed - 27-Sep-2016
Breast Augmentation (Dr. Gupta) - 27-Aug-2018


Mine has been working with transgender clients for over a decade, so when I went there she just kinda asked a bunch of questions, we chatted for a bit, and then she wrote me a letter for hormones. Done in one visit (though she did recommend group therapy so I can socialize/vent with local trans people). I live in AL so I'm guessing most therapists in my area probably would've kept me waiting for a year or more before telling me they wouldn't write the letter.


The therapist I saw who was experienced in transgender issues wouldn't pay attention to my individual needs and ignored all of my non-transgender issues in favor of giving me stock transfer suggestions like "wearing women's clothing at home will make you feel better," and it really soured me on the whole transgender thing and set me back a few months because I felt like I was never going to help if I was transgender because Id just he viewed as a stereotype and my core problems would be overlooked.

I'm a lot better after going on anti-anxiety meds, but jeez, that "gender therapist" really didn't help me at all, and made my problems worse. I'm inclined to just stick with a therapist I like rather than leaving them to go find a different one just becausr they're supposedly more experienced with transgender patients. Given my terrible track record with therapy, I don't feel like rolling the dice anymore.

Harley Quinn

I like the solution/goal oriented sessions of the Psychotherapists.  They're still capable of diagnosing or dealing with gender issues legally, but they tend to take on a larger variety of issues.
At what point did my life go Looney Tunes? How did it happen? Who's to blame?... Batman, that's who. Batman! It's always been Batman! Ruining my life, spoiling my fun! >:-)